'Bloody awesome' Charter is Aussies' rock

Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter has been brilliant en route to the Olympic semi-finals.
Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter has been brilliant en route to the Olympic semi-finals.

Australia's heroic hockey goalkeeper Andrew Charter was today the toast of his Kookaburra teammates, hailed as their one-man wall after his inspirational performance saw them halt the Netherlands and set up a semi-final against Germany.

But the 34-year-old was left drained by his magnificent performance as he sweltered beneath his heavy goalkeeping gear in the merciless Tokyo heat on Sunday, estimating that he had probably lost anything between two-and-a-half and three kilos of weight during the tense match.

"Absolutely awesome, he was bloody awesome!" roared Dutch-born teammate Tim Brand, after watching Charter make seven excellent saves during the match itself which finished 2-2 before the keeper also delivered a shut-out in the Aussies' subsequent 3-0 shootout win.

"Those shoot-outs - we've been practising them a lot after the World Cup," said Brand, recalling how they'd lost to the Dutch in 2018.

"We didn't want to go out on another one, so it's good to give the Dutch one back. Charts is a bloody hero!"

Charter saved the first three Dutch attempts while Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie and then Brand all held their nerve in their one-on-one duels to score and put Australia within one win of the gold medal game.

Another teammate Aran Zalewski also joined the chorus of praise for the keeper's remarkable display, saying: "Andrew Charter had an absolutely superb game. He was a rock for us today."

Charter himself couldn't have been happier. "It's bloody amazing mate!" he said.

"The last few games, the boys have done me a favour and not had to give me much work by scoring a few goals, so to come out here and carry the burden for a bit, it's good for my confidence - and it's good for the team defensively moving forward.

"We've got to come back now and put it together in the semi."

The key for him and his teammates before Tuesday's showdown with Germany is to be properly recovered after Sunday's gruelling contest.

"In this heat we go and weigh-in now, see how much fluid loss we've had during it. I'm predicting probably two-and-a-half, three kilos of weight lost. That means I probably have to drink five litres over the next two hours," Charter explained straight after the match.

"We'll head straight back to the Olympic Village to our recovery centre, get in the ice bath, cool our core temperature down, because it's pretty brutal out there."

Tuesday's other semi will see Belgium - like Australia, unbeaten throughout the tournament - face India.

Australian Associated Press